Jewelry: Turkish Delights

<< Back to Robb Report, September 2006

Yossi Harari says he is a student of ancient Ottoman, Etruscan, and Hellenistic art, and those influences are readily apparent in his jewelry designs, including his new collection, Yossi Couture. The pieces were made by layering 24-karat gold with oxidized silver to produce a matte black finish. It is a technique, he says, that was used widely during the time of the Ottoman Empire. Harari’s jewelers then set the pieces—blackened cuffs, drop earrings, and lavaliere necklaces—with mosaics made from rose-cut diamonds of various sizes.

Like many contemporary designers, Harari prefers the subtle glow of rose-cut stones to the intense sparkle of brilliant multifaceted stones. Yet Harari’s production methods require patience. A recently completed oxidized gold cuff embedded with diamonds passed from gem cutter to gem setter to metalsmith over a period of three months.

Since 1992, Harari has operated a factory store in Istanbul, where 20 jewelers craft the 24-karat gold pieces using primitive tools—in much the same manner as craftsmen made jewels for the Turkish sultans as long ago as the sixth century. “I love to keep the authenticity of the way things used to be made, but reshape the designs into beautiful, fashionable jewelry that is more contemporary,” says the 42-year-old Harari, a small, fit, and energetic man who wears simple, hand-hammered 24-karat gold bangles on his wrist.

Harari, who divides his time between Istanbul, Tel Aviv, and New York (where his collection is sold at Bergdorf Goodman), was born in Israel and spent much of his childhood in Istanbul. He frequently traveled between his family’s homes in Tel Aviv, Istanbul, and Lugano, Switzerland, with his grandfather, a prominent art and antiques collector. “My grandfather took me with him on his buying trips to Paris and around Europe,” says Harari. “I went to Paris flea markets with him and the grand bazaar in Istanbul and many antiques stores. When my grandfather came into their shops, the dealers always went in their back rooms and brought out something special to show him.” Those encounters proved so influential on Harari that, at age 11, he suggested a redesign for his mother’s diamond ring, which his grandfather had made to the boy’s specifications.

The day after Harari completed his three-year service in the Israeli army, he departed for California to attend the Gemological Institute of America, where he studied gemology, design, and manufacturing. He later attended Tel Aviv University, earning a degree in art history and gaining exposure to some of the designs and techniques that now appear in his gold pieces.

“Once a woman buys 24-karat gold jewelry, she becomes addicted,” says Harari. “It’s such a warm, flattering color against the skin, and it immediately takes on the body’s temperature and becomes something very personal.”

Yossi Harari
866.301.6873
www.yossiharari.com

Also available at Bergdorf Goodman
212.872.2518
www.bergdorfgoodman.com

The historically inspired necklace is part of Boucheron’s new Bleu de Jodhpur collection…
The London jeweler employs rare fossilized wood to create her pieces…
Fresh designs take direction from a stage and screen icon…
The Floridian Lapidary favors bold stones with minimal metal embellishments to distract from them…
The exquisitely enigmatic gem shows its range in new designs…
A timeless gem is refreshed with extraordinary hues…
The New York–based jeweler prides himself on his nontraditional approach to jewelry design…
Photo by Emanuele Marietti
A fresh wave of jewelry elegantly emulates coastal flora and fauna…
A new jewelry collection reveals African roots with refined designs…
New butterfly designs from some of the world’s most esteemed jewelers take flight for summer…